Rand Paul Outlines Ideas on Corporate Influence

Arnie Alpert on January 14, 2015
Rand Paul suggested the federal government could use contractual language to limit the ability of corporations to lobby for more contracts.

Several bird dogs attended an event with Senator Rand Paul at The Draft in Concord.  I asked him how he would reduce the influence of corporations that drive up military spending by lobbying for weapons contracts.  “If you get a billion-dollar contract from government, I would write into the contract that you voluntarily agree not to take any of that money and lobby Congress for more contracts. It is a feeding trough where those who get money use it to get more,” he responded. 

Carl spoke about Granny D and the Citizens United decision.  "Would you support an amendment that says corporations are not people and money is not speech," he asked.

Senator Paul suggested that the issue was related to what he had already said to me, and again suggested that writing restrictions into contracts would be a way to reduce coroprate influence without treading on free speech rights.  "Part of the contract would say, 'I'm not going to lobby Congress,'" he suggested.

David followed up with a question about financial insitutions deemed "too big to fail," which get protections denied to small financial firms like his own.   Senator Paul noted that big banks have gotten bigger since the 2008 Wall Street meltdown and noted the repeal of Glass-Steagall.   "I don't know the exact answer," he said, but there could be limits on what you do with insured deposits."

John tried a couple times, without success, to get up to Paul in the crowd.  Then we all had a chat with David Weigel, who at the time was writing for Bloomberg News.  Click here for his report on the event. 

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Arnie Alpert

Arnie Alpert

Arnie Alpert is co-director of the American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program, which he has led since 1981.  In that time he has been involved in movements for economic justice and affordable housing, civil and worker rights, peace and disarmament, abolition of the death penalty, and an end to racism and homophobia.